Just the Tarot Posts

Finding Meaning With Synchronicity

I’ve really been getting into investigating synchronicity lately.  Which is probably totally appropriate because reading Tarot cards is all about synchronicity.  You shuffle the cards, you lay out a reading and somehow the Tarot tells you what’s going on in your life, what’s probably going to go on in your life, and what factors you should be paying attention to as you move forward.

There is absolutely NO logical reason why the Tarot should work, but it does work.  And when you get to a space in the Universe where something works for no particular reason, that’s the space where synchronicity lives.

For those of you who aren’t into synchronicity, it was a phenomenon that was first seriously documented by Carl Jung.  He noticed that some things seemed to happen together in a meaningful way, even though there was no direct cause and effect relationship.

The most commonly used example for that is that you’re thinking of a long lost friend you haven’t seen in years when suddenly the telephone rings and – shazam – it’s your friend.  The two events occurring at the same time are definitely linked but they defy logic because there’s no visible cause and effect relationship.  Scientifically minded people would label them as, “coincidences,” which is scientific short hand for, “I really don’t know what the fuck just happened.”

Now, I recently – and synchronistically – stumbled across a book called, The Power of Flow: Practical Ways to Transform Your Life with Meaningful Coincidence. I’d been thinking about synchronicity and how it worked and why it worked in the back of my mind.  I had pulled up an article on my tablet that was totally unrelated to that subject and, in the middle of the article, there was a reference to this wonderful book about synchronicity.

If you haven’t read the book, I really recommend it.  What’s been intriguing to me about its’ discussions is the idea that we can sort of cause synchronicity to happen.  Or, at the very least, we can set up our lives so that they are fertile fields for synchronicity.   Among other things that the author recommends are journaling, therapy, meditation, dreaming, basically anything that opens us up to Deep Mind.

One of those things that really leapt out at me, though, is INTENT.  Having the intention of having synchronistic experiences can increase the probability of them happening.  Or, perhaps I should say, “expectation.”  If you expect them to happen, they’re more likely to occur.

Well, I decided to put on my metaphysical-scientist hat and test that hypothesis using the most stringent experimental methods possible.  By which I mean, I went for a walk downtown.  I didn’t just go for a walk, though.  I went for a walk with the full expectation that the Universe was going to give me some sort of a sign, some sort of direction.  

I was actively looking for it.

And I immediately ran into three of the people I care most about in life.  Boom, boom, boom – there they were.  

I went back home and mulled that over.  It certainly seemed to have worked.  What were the odds that I’d immediately encounter those three people?  On the other hand, I thought, we live in a small town and people do run into each other.  On the third hand, I reflected, I’m an extreme, dedicated introvert.  I can go for weeks and not have the phone ring or have anyone knock on the door.  So. . . I step outside my boundaries for a change and there are my three friends.  Hmmmm . . .

 I repeated the experiment and went for another walk the next day.  And, boom, boom, boom, there were three more friends just like they’d been waiting for me to happen along.

Wonderfully weird, right?

And, if we’re able to stimulate the occurrence of synchronistic events by our intent or by our expectation that they are going to occur, then that establishes a direct link between what’s going on in our minds and what’s going on in the outside world.  Which is amazing.

Now, to be clear – WE ARE NOT ACTUALLY CAUSING THE SYNCHRONISTIC EVENTS.  They are occurring spontaneously with our intentions, but they aren’t mere reflections of our inner states.  Rather, it’s as if the Universe is responding to our inner states and giving us clues and pointing us in different directions.

In this particular instance, the inner state was my question, “Can you show me that synchronicity works?”  And the Universe responded, “Yep, we can arrange that.”  My friends, who, “appeared,” on my walk are all free, independent entities and I couldn’t MAKE them appear in any sense of the word, but the Universe could bend the rules a little bit and put us all in the same section of the same town at the same time.

In other words . . . there is something out there and we can have a dialogue with it about our lives.  You can conceptualize that any way that you want to.  You can call it spirit guides, angels, the universe, the Tao, being in The Flow,  Whatever it is, you can ask it a question and it will give you an answer.  “Hey, you’re puzzled about this, so look over there . . .”

When we really get into that framework, when we make that shift into realizing that we’re interacting with the Universe in a meaningful dialogue (we’re asking questions and we’re being given answers) it makes a HUGE difference in how we approach our lives.

Here’s how the authors of, “The Power of Flow,” put it:

“By using synchronicity for guidance, confirmation, and validation, people’s lives become a dance of energy with the Universe, a give and take with their environment that fills their days with insight and zest.”

Life, at that point, becomes a book that we know how to read and it’s  full of amazing answers.  As Albert Einstein put it:  “There are only two ways to look at life – as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is a miracle.”  With synchronicity, everything becomes a miracle.

Ulla Suokko, author of Signs of the Universe: A Practical Guide to Shift Your Story gave an amazing Ted Talk on the synchronicity that has occurred in her life.  She reiterated Einstein’s point but took it a bit further.  “Choose to live as if everything is a miracle.”

When we consciously make that choice to LOOK for the miraculous, it appears. We can talk to the Universe and it talks back. How cool is that?

Disclaimer: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

The Strength Card, Ahimsa, and Your Magical Anti Shit-Head Cloak

Rebuilding trust in relationships using the doctrine of Ahimsa

Have you ever been deeply, deeply hurt by another human being?

I’m not talking about someone, “hurting your feelings,” a phrase that we all use to describe occasional, usually minor, pain or unhappiness.  I’m talking about a deep, horrible, traumatic pain that feels like you may never recover from it. 

For example, finding out your lover is cheating on you and has been lying to you about it for some time.  Or, perhaps, your partner suddenly leaving you without even affording you a chance to process it.  Or realizing that the person you’re still madly in love with has fallen out of love with you.

There are really two elements there:  the first is the pain that you’re going through;  the second is a profound sense of betrayal, a feeling that your deepest trust has been violated.  Of the two, the sense of betrayal can be much, much harder to recover from.  The betrayal of trust can be world changing for us, in a very dark way.

It’s not at all unusual for people to withdraw from intimate connections with other humans after something like that.  Younger people may declare a hiatus on dating and say that they only want to be, “friends,” for a while.  Older people may pull into a thick, impenetrable shell and become totally socially isolated.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  That’s our Deeper Self taking care of us.  That’s our Inner Wisdom saying, “You’ve been badly wounded.  You need to rest and cry and heal.”

There comes a time, though, when we may realize that we need to reconnect with the world.  Getting back out there can be scary and intimidating.  There are, after all, no guarantees that it won’t happen again.  If we loved someone with all of our heart, if we trusted someone with all of our being, and they betrayed us, how do we know that our trust and love won’t be misplaced again?  And if our judgement was so flawed, so . . . totally wrong . . . about the person we loved, how can we know that we won’t just make the same stupid mistakes with the next person?

We might find at least a partial solution in the Yogic doctrine of Ahimsa.  Ahimsa is the idea of total, complete, harmlessness.  It’s the idea that if we emanate a vibration of nothing but love, we can attract nothing but love.  We literally CANNOT attract aggression because we HAVE no aggression.

The Strength card from the Tarot is a wonderful image of this.  The woman in the card is gently closing the mouth of one of the most ferocious predators on the planet.  She’s almost caressing the lion, rather than trying to overpower it or force it in any way.  The lion is calm and peaceful because she’s living in the vibration of love and he’s responding on exactly the same vibration.

So what the fuck does that have to do with your lover ripping your heart out of your chest, stomping on it with hobnailed boots, and serving it to you on a Ritz cracker?  You might ask . . .

Part of the answer lies in the quality of the love that’s involved in Ahimsa.  Ahimsa involves absolute unconditional love.  In other words, there are no strings attached.  We’re not loving people because we expect to get something back.  We’re just loving them.  And that’s very unusual in our society.  Most of what we call, “love,” involves a definite quid pro quo.

If you don’t believe that, try telling people who are just acquaintances that you love them.  You’ll find that the usual reaction is something along the lines of, “Uh, huh . . . what do you want?”  I mean, if you’re saying you love me, you must want something, right?

When I look back on my deepest emotional wounds, I have to admit that a large part of the pain was based on the idea that I hadn’t been treated fairly.  I loved someone with everything I had and she walked away from that love and that JUST WASN’T RIGHT!  In other words, I had strings attached to my love.  Yes, I love you deeply THEREFORE you are supposed to love me back just as deeply and, if you don’t, you’ve betrayed my love.

All of that’s perfectly human.  Most of us are not Ram Dass or Mother Theresa or Saint Francis and we don’t just walk around with huge amounts of unconditional love bubbling out of us.  Most of us expect that if we make a deep emotional commitment to someone, it will be reciprocated.  And it hurts like hell when it isn’t.  Conditional love seems almost hard-wired into us and – if it isn’t – it’s sure as hell soft-wired with some big, thick cables.

The funny thing is, though, that unconditional love can be terrifically liberating.  If we go into relationships with the idea of, “I don’t want ANYTHING from you,”  it frees us from that whole expectation that we should be getting something back.  It frees us from constantly worrying about whether we’re being treated fairly or if the relationship is equitable or if the other person loves us just as much as we love them.

And it frees us of the probability of being hurt again, which is what this post is all about.

Sticking our toes back in the relationship water can be scary as hell if we’ve been deeply, deeply hurt in the past.  But if we can consciously remove that idea that we’re always supposed to get some sort of an emotional payoff from our relationships,  if we can consciously stay in that state of openness and love WITHOUT WANTING ANYTHING BACK, we effectively remove the other person’s power to hurt us.

That’s a hard concept to grasp.  I know it’s been hard for me, but it works.

Now, if all of that doesn’t work for you, if all of the reasons for unconditional love I just talked about don’t ring your chimes, then just think of it as a Magical Shield to protect you when you’re moving out into the relationship world again.  The more you can keep your heart in unconditional love, the more likely you are to attract people who are in the same vibration.

Put another way, the more you can live in unconditional love, the less likely you are to attract shit-heads and narcissists.

You remember the Invisibility Cloak in Harry Potter?  When he put it on, he could walk right past people without being seen.  In the same sense, if you’re living in Ahimsa, if you’re keeping that no-strings-attached love in your heart, you can walk right past the shit-heads and THEY WON’T EVEN KNOW YOU’RE THERE because you’re wearing your Magical Anti Shit-Head Cloak.

“All you need is love,”  – The Beatles.

Spring Equinox, the Four of Wands, and the Spiritual Joy of Chocolate Covered Bunnies

Exploring the lost – and found – joy of spirituality.

I haven’t celebrated easter in a very long time.  I’m not a christian, so I don’t feel any particular connection there.  I was also reared as a catholic, so there may actually still be a little subconscious hostility left over as a result of recovering from that heritage.  

This year, though, I decided that I was really going to celebrate the Spring Equinox.  I won’t belabor the fact that the christian churches never met a pagan holiday that they didn’t steal or co-opt, and that easter is obviously a take-over of the celebration of Spring.  We all know that.  What I hadn’t really consciously flashed on, though, was that I was letting the christian holiday interfere with MY holiday in more ways than one.

It’s been a bitch of a year and a bitch of a winter, not just for me but for the entire world.  There’s been a lot of death, a lot of depression, a lot of darkness and craziness and it’s gone on for a very long time.  So when the first golden daffodil started popping open this year, I could feel in my very bones that I wanted to celebrate.  I wanted to embrace that light with everything I had.

I decided to build a Spring Equinox altar.  That, along with incense and candles, is one of the few positive things about growing up catholic.  I’ll build an altar anywhere, anytime, at the drop of a freaking hat.  And then I’ll stick candles on it and get some incense burning, by Goddess.

I spent hours cruising through our local stores, purchasing the, “ingredients,” for my little shrine to Spring.  As usual, Dollar General was a treasure trove for low priced holiday decorations.  I bought glittery eggs and plaster bunny rabbits for fertility symbols.  Candles and chrysanthemums and sea shells.  Virgin of Guadalupe’ votives to represent the Goddess. And more bunnies. I went home and dug out my crystals and my pentagrams and my chalice and athame’, and began assembling the altar.

About half way through the process I realized that I was having a hell of a good time.  I actually found myself laughing out loud as I arranged the items on an old coffee table and rearranged them and rearranged them again.  I put my statues of Tara and Quan Yin in the center of the table, strung white christmas lights around the shrine, lit incense, and laughed some more.

It was fun!

And it really hit me like a hammer:  organized religions didn’t just steal our holidays, they stole our fun.  They took every single pagan holiday, turned it something dark and solemn and serious, and systematically tried to wring every bit of joy and laughter out of it.

Easter is a prime example of that.  The pagan celebrations of Spring had a HUGE amount of fun attached to them.  Much like the Four of Wands, there was dancing, drinking, revelry and the people who were doing the celebrating didn’t just eat chocolate bunnies, they fucked like bunnies.  A LOT.

And then along came organized religion.  Suddenly the celebration of Spring was all about death.  All about a very kind – and perhaps fictional – man being tortured, crucified and killed.  And, yes, I know that christians like to say that easter is all about re-birth, all about christ rising from the tomb, but it’s really not.  It’s about death.  

It’s like they took my beautiful, golden daffodil and threw a bucket of blood on it.

There’s been that same strange dance between pagan joy and organized religion for centuries and I’d have to say that – all in all – we pagans are winning.  Organized religion took over the mid-winter festival and declared that it was the birthday of Jesus, a very solemn occasion, doncha know?  We countered with christmas trees and presents and twinkling lights.  Organized religion took over our festival celebrating the end of the season of light and declared that it was, “All Souls Day.”  We came right back and said, “Nope, it’s Halloween – break out the masks and candy!”

They said, “Easter,” and we replied, “Chocolate Bunnies!”

The point is that you can’t repress the joy of true spirituality.  William James pointed that out in The Varieties of Religious Experience a long time ago.  The hallmarks of someone who has had a true spiritual experience are joy, compassion and love.  

To put it another way, if we’re not having some FUN with our religions, we’re not connecting with any sort of spirituality AT ALL.  If we’re afraid to laugh in church, we’re in the wrong church.

So this year I’m starting again.  Like my little Spring Equinox altar, I’m assembling the, “ingredients,” of my spirituality.  They will include feathers and crystals and bells and, yes, some chocolate bunnies. And I may rearrange them and then rearrange them again, but I’ll be laughing while I do it.

Wishing you a joy-FULL Spring Equinox and BIG smiles.

Psychic Empathy, Boundary Violations, and Deep Sadness

I have struggled with being a psychic empath for most of my adult life and probably a good portion of my childhood.  I don’t much discuss it with other people because most people can’t comprehend the sensations that psychic empaths deal with on a daily basis.  There’s just no point in it.

Now, just to be clear, most of the ideas that people have about psychic empaths are garbage.  There’s a Hollywood image of someone, “picking up,” crystal clear messages out of the ether, making astonishing predictions about the future, or having amazing insights about other people’s thoughts.  The truth of the matter is that living with those, “gifts,” frequently feels like pure chaos. 

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE

As near as I can tell, most people have a very clearly defined sense of inside versus outside, both in terms of their bodies and their emotions.  In other words, they have an innate sense of, “I’m in here, and you’re over there.”

To a large extent, that sense of differentiation doesn’t exist for psychic empaths.  We can, “feel,” other people’s energy, their moods, their emotions, their private thoughts just as if they were expressing them out loud.  Sometimes – especially with people we love or have some other strong bond with – we can feel their energy from a very great distance.  We somehow know when people we care about are upset, depressed, or in trouble.  We also know when they’re happy, joyful.

That’s not unheard of, even for normal people.  Many people have had the experience of thinking of someone that they haven’t heard from for years, when suddenly the phone rings and it’s that person.  It happens.  Now try to imagine if it happened to you every single day.  At a certain point, the psychic empath will begin to feel like a sponge, like we don’t know which energy is ours and which energy belongs to other people.  It can be very confusing:  why am I suddenly terribly depressed?  Is it me or is it that someone else’s energy?

EMPATHS VERSUS PSYCHIC EMPATHS

Claiming to be an, “empath,” has gotten to be kind of trendy.  There are articles about it all over the internet and I guess it’s a way of saying, “Hey, I’m a really sensitive, caring person.”  Which is cool.  We LIKE sensitive caring people.  But there is a major difference between empaths and psychic empaths.  It all exists on a spectrum, so imagine a straight line with different points on it.

A ———-B———C———D

At point A you find people with NO empathy at all:  sociopaths, narcissists, psychopaths.  At point B, you find, “normal,” people with some empathy but clearly defined and sometimes rigid boundaries between themselves and other people.  At point C, you’d find emotional empaths, who are people who can STRONGLY (and emotionally) identify with other people’s feelings.  At point D, you’d find psychic empaths who actually experience other people’s emotional energy as being mixed in with their own, frequently on an involuntary basis.

And, “involuntary,” is the salient word.  Contrary to the fictionalized image of the psychic, most psychics don’t intentionally, consciously, “tune into,” other people’s emotions and thoughts.  It’s just something that happens as a part of our innate make up.  It’s what we do, whether we like it or not.

BEING PSYCHIC VERSUS BEING HYPER-VIGILANT

People who grew up in highly abusive households, people who have suffered spousal abuse, people who have been in combat, and people who have extremely high stress jobs tend to become hyper-vigilant.  What that means is that they are in a nearly constant, “fight or flight,” reaction.  They have become so habituated to living in a dangerous environment that they are constantly, “scanning,” for any signs of threats.  They are in a constant reactive mode. 

Hyper-vigilance – that scanning for danger – can occur at such an amazingly rapid rate that it almost appears to be psychic.  People who are hyper-vigilant are taking in and processing cues from their environment at a speed that’s nearly incomprehensible to a, “normal,” person.  That’s how they survived in surroundings that were fraught with danger, by being extremely sensitive to the slightest nuances of what’s going on around them.

The difference between being hyper-vigilant behavior and psychic behavior may actually look blurry to an outsider.  Hyper-vigilant behavior, though, is learned, adaptive, behavior and psychic behavior is something that you’re born with.  The difference can get even blurrier because people who are psychic will frequently become hyper-vigilant as a result of being so open to other people’s energy.

BOUNDARIES:  BEING VIOLATED AND VIOLATING

If you do a quick survey of articles on the internet about empaths you’ll find that boundaries are a big issue.  Most of the articles and books out there are oriented toward helping empaths have stronger personal boundaries.  If you’re highly empathic – much less psychically empathic – keeping your energy and your emotions separated from other people’s energies and emotions can be a huge challenge.

I’ve recently become aware of a different aspect of that, though, which is that, “normal,” people frequently feel that their boundaries are being violated by psychic empaths.  And I don’t really know why it hadn’t occurred to me before.

To a large extent, all I can do is to describe it from my side of the experience.  When I sit down across from someone, I feel almost bombarded with energetic and emotional impressions.  I’m not just listening to their words and reading their body language and facial expressions, I’m processing – frequently on a subconscious level – a whole array of vibrations that they’re emanating.

While I’m doing that, it can be difficult to keep what I’m picking up on a psychic level separate from what the person is telling me verbally.  And inadvertently responding to the unspoken psychic content can make the other person feel personally violated.

Let me give you an example.  Suppose a psychic empath is sitting down having a nice chat with a stranger about the weather.  Unbeknownst to the empath, the person they’re chatting with has been having a lot of emotional issues with a romantic relationship she’s involved in.  So the conversation might go something like:

“Nice weather we’re having.”

“Yes, but they say it might rain.”

“You never can tell this time of the year.”

“Yeah, the weatherman always seems to get it wrong.  What’s up with your boyfriend yelling at you?”

And, NO, the stranger is NOT going to say, “Oh, gee, you must be psychic!”  They’re going to say, “That’s personal and it’s none of your damned business.” And then they’re going to feel creeped out.

The point is that the psychic empath wasn’t trying to intrude.  He wasn’t meaning to pick up on something that’s a deeply private issue to the other person – it just happens.  Psychics pick it up and it pops out of our mouths. And, yes, it can feel very much like a boundary violation to the person who just got, “read.”  (Interestingly, I’ve only been able to find one article that addresses this issue.  It’s called, “Hey, Don’t Read My Mind,” though it might as well be called, “Don’t Read My Mind, Goddamnit!”)

BEING PSYCHIC AND BEING ALIENATED

I realized as I was writing this post that I was feeling an immense sense of sadness.  There are virtually no people out there that psychic empaths can talk to about these issues.  It’s paradoxical:  being highly empathetic almost always leads to a sense of being highly alienated.  The longer you live, the more aware you become of the fact that you are fundamentally different from the majority of people you will encounter in life.  The more that you authentically honor your own nature – the very way that you were born – the less you feel that you will ever belong.

I’m not offering this little post in the hope that most people will understand what I’m trying to say.  Rather, I’m putting it out there for other people who are dealing with the same experiences and feel that no one understands.

You are not alone.

The Devil, The Star, and the Mystery of the Disappearing Demon

The concept of evil as a projection of human characteristics on nature.

When you first look at the Tarot card, The Devil, you might experience a deeply profound, spiritual reaction.  Something like, “YIKES!!!!

I mean, he’s big and he’s scary and he’s pissed off.  He’s sort of a goat but he has those bat wings happening and talons on his feet.  And, as Inga said in Young Frankenstein, “He vould have an enormous schwanzstucker!”

He’s the stuff of nightmares, really.  And he always makes me think of the planet Venus.  I know, I know . . . weird . . . but bear with me.

We all remember the childhood ditty that said:

“Twinkle, twinkle little star.

How I wonder what you are . . .”

Primitive humans actually had the same reaction to the stars, only it was more along the lines of, “What in the hell ARE those things?”  As educated, modern humans we look at the stars and we might think something like, “Glowing orbs of burning gaseous matter.”  Our ancestors, though, would look at them and think, “Wow . . . magic!”

As they studied them more and more, they realized that some of the stars actually moved around in the sky.  What they were seeing moving is what we call planets, but to the ancients they were glowing stars that were in motion.  And, of course, if something moves that means that it’s alive, as opposed to not moving which frequently means that you’re dead, or maybe a rock or a doorstop.

So, primitive humans had reached a point where they were able to observe the night skies, chart different constellations, and notice that some of the stars seemed to be alive.  And they went from their original question about the stars – “What in the hell ARE those things?”  to a deeper understanding.  This was verbalized as, “No, REALLY, what in the hell ARE those things?”

They started to make up stories about the apparently living creatures that were moving around the sky.  They decided that since the moving stars are above us, then they must be – you know – ABOVE us, as in superior to us, and so they came to believe that the moving stars were gods or angels.

All of that’s perfectly rational thinking, given the degree of knowledge that primitive humans possessed.  They went on to assign characteristics to the star gods, based on appearance and behavior.  Mars was blood red, so he must be the god of war.  Jupiter was huge, so he must be the main god.  Mercury was very zippy, so he must be a messenger with wings on his heels that let him flash around the sky very quickly.

When they looked at Venus, though, one thing stood out to a lot of the ancient star gazers:  Venus disappears.  In fact, Venus has very, very strange behavior, indeed.  Venus appears as a morning star for 263 days and then, for the next 50 days, Venus disappears and cannot be seen in the sky at all.  And THEN Venus reappears, but in the evening sky, where it remains for another 263-day phase before disappearing below the horizon for 8 days. At the end of these 8 days, Venus reappears as a morning star, and the cycle begins again.

So our ancestors looked at this very peculiar behavior on the part of this particular star god and tried to figure out what it meant.  Why did the star god keep switch-hitting between being a morning star god and an evening star god?  And where in the hell did it GO when it disappeared?  It was all very perplexing.

The Romans and the Greeks focused on the fact that Venus (as a morning star god) was always brightest right before the dawn.  They reasoned, then, that Venus must somehow be bringing the dawn into existence each day, and they named it, “the light bringer,” which in Latin is written as, “Lucifer.”

The Middle Eastern star gazers had a different take on it.  As we all know, Middle Eastern religions tend to favor angry, bi-polar male gods and so they reasoned that Venus was PISSING OFF god, and doing it on a regular basis.  When god got pissed off at Venus, he made the star god just disappear from heaven.  “All right . . . that’s IT . . . get out!  And don’t come back for 50 days, if you know what’s good for you!”

As the story evolved into judeo-christian theology, god wasn’t just making Venus disappear, he was throwing his ass out the door.  He was tossing the star god – now known as Satan – out of heaven and Satan was plummeting into darkness and hell fire.  When the expanding christian culture encountered the Greco-Roman god Lucifer, they said, “Oh, yeah . . . disappearing star god . . . we know about him . . . that’s Satan.”

And so Lucifer became Satan and Satan became the Devil and we ended up with this bat goat critter with an enormous schwanzstucker.

All of this would be kind of hilarious if it didn’t represent an amazing projection of our own very human fear, anger, and malice onto the universe.  There is no crazy god with a white beard throwing devils out of heaven every 50 days.  Bats aren’t evil, they’re just . . . you know . . . bats.  The goat is being used as a symbol of rampant sexuality but the truth is that goats aren’t nearly as horny as people.  

Bottom lining it, we’ve taken our very worst traits – our, “evil,” if you will – projected it onto nature, and then declared nature to be evil.  And then we made war on nature.

And, yep, our first reaction is probably appropriate:  Yikes!

The Five of Wands, Compassion, and the Invasion of The Trumpster Amygdaloids

Developing compassion for Trump supporters based on their inflamed amygdalas.

I’ve been trying to reach a space of compassion in my heart for rabid Trump supporters and it hasn’t been easy.  Any time that we see pictures of them, they seem to exist in a sea of snarling, angry, hate-filled faces.  Their social media posts are contemptuous, bigoted, ill-informed diatribes that frequently feature images of people with guns, swastikas, and confederate flags.

They, “feel,” very much like the Five of Wands.  A group of people swinging clubs as fast and as hard as they possibly can and rarely connecting with anything useful.  

There’s not much there to love or empathize with. It became much, much harder to feel a sense of common humanity with them after they stormed the Capitol Building on January the Sixth.  They exhibited all of the rage, fury, and mindlessness of a lynch mob and it’s plain that people would have been seriously injured or killed if the Trumpsters had been able to reach them.

I DO have a need and a perceived duty to feel compassion for my fellow humans.  If we believe, as I do, that we are ALL Souls at our core – small sparks from the Sacred Fire of the universe –  then we need to treat one another with the same respect that we would show for the origin of the Sacred and the Divine.  The rabid Trumpsters, then, could be perceived as wandering, confused, temporarily misguided human Souls.

But they’re such assholes.

I mean, they’re really, really REALLY hard to like.  I don’t like their politics, I don’t like their snotty, condescending attitudes, I don’t like their hatred or their guns or their racism.  So I was having an extremely hard time trying to come up with one thing, just one thing, where I could find some common ground and tell myself, “Yeah . . . THERE’S something we have in common!  There’s a basis for some empathy and compassion.”

And I finally settled on their amygdalas.

The amygdala, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a walnut shaped organ at the base of our brains.  It’s probably the most ancient part of our brains which is why it’s referred to as, “the crocodile brain,” meaning that it’s on about the same primitive evolutionary level as a crocodile.  

It’s also in charge of the fight, flight, or freeze reaction.  If we’re confronted with danger, the amygdala fires off and our brains and bodies are flooded with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.  We’re on full alert and we’re instantly ready to fight like hell, run like hell, or freeze in place.

Also – and this is VERY important with understanding the Trumpsters – when the amygdala is fully activated the prefrontal cortex, which is the THINKING part of the brain, the RATIONAL part of the brain, shuts down.  Turns off.  Quits working.

One other curious fact about the amygdala is that the more it’s activated, the more dominant it becomes.  When we’re constantly frightened or angry, the amygdala actually GROWS in size and our bodies become like a sea of stress hormones.

Even to a rational, normal person, the last four years have been extremely irritating.  Until they took Trump’s Twitter account away from him, there was a constant, never-ending barrage of Twisted Trump Tweets.  Many times a day there were messages that basically said, “Be afraid!  Be very, very afraid!”

The Socialists are coming for you!

The Communists are coming for you!

The Chinese are coming for you!

The Mexican rapists are coming for you!

The Anitifas are coming for you!

The Democrats are coming for you!

The liberals are coming for you!

Toilets that you have to flush twice are coming for you!

Be afraid!   And – also –  be very, very, very ANGRY!

For most of us the tweets went from being stupid to being annoying to, “Doesn’t that guy EVER shut the fuck up?”

But now imagine what those tweets must have been doing to the rabid Trumpsters.  These were people whose amygdalas must have already been pretty active since they voted for Trump and his fear and his anger to begin with.  Then add a four year stream of poisonous messages from the Tangerine Troll and they had to have gone totally into Tilt.

If the amygdala actually grows every time we get angry or become frightened, they must have amygdalas the size of freaking watermelons.  And if the prefrontal cortex shuts down every time the amygdala fires off, well shit, they haven’t had a rational thought in years.

Bless their little hearts.

So I’m using that as my basis for compassion.  These people aren’t just assholes.  They’re actually suffering from extremely inflamed amygdalas, aggravated by shrivelled prefrontal cortexes.  I’m even beginning to think of them less as rabid Trump supporters and more as Amygdaloids.

“Yes, it was tragic.  When he was born he seemed perfectly normal, but sometime in his later development turned into an Amygdaloid.  No known treatment for it, you know.  Just . . . tragic.”

There now.  I feel better already.

The Hanged Man, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Getting Shazammed

Exploring rapid versus gradual spirit growth and how we have to be our own miracles.

Have you ever been really, really, REALLY unhappy for a REALLY long period of time?  One of those stretches in life where you feel like nothing’s going right, nobody loves you, and the future looks like a whole lot of storm clouds and very few rainbows?

In the South, they’d say, “By god, I’m so down I’d have to look up to see a snake’s belly.”

The Hanged Man shows someone who’s been through that experience.  He’s suffered so deeply that he’s barely survived and now he’s about to travel down a road of spiritual rebirth.  In the meantime, he’s just hanging there in space and time trying to figure out what it all meant and why it happened.

Willam James, the founder of American Pragmatism, wrote a lot about what The Hanged Man goes through in his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Penguin American Library)  He called it a conversion experience.  In simple terms, that just means that a miserable, unhappy, deeply depressed, highly dysfunctional human being is somehow converted into a person who is happy, joyous and free.

 The most fascinating examples of it are when the conversions appear to happen very rapidly.  A person is full of despair and totally heart sick on Tuesday, but they wake up on Wednesday full of joy and love.

Shazam!  Brand new person!

The classic example of that, of course, is Ebeneezer Scrooge.  I’ve often wondered if Dickens hadn’t read Varieties of Religious Experience.  “Hmmm . . . miserable son-of-a-bitch turns into a happy, compassionate person over-night . . . what an interesting plot . . .”

We can find modern day examples of that experience in a couple of the New Thought leaders:  Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie.  Tolle was, by his own account, an overly sensitive, deeply depressed, frequently suicidal person.  Katie was an alcoholic drug addict who found herself locked in the attic of a woman’s rehab facility because the other women in the house were afraid of her.  In both cases, they suddenly, “woke up,” one day, finally understanding what life is all about and totally joy-full.

Shazam And A Half!!!!

Of course, the thing they don’t much talk about is that it wasn’t an overnight miracle.  In fact, both of them had been stewing in their own misery for years and years and years before something popped, before that shift in consciousness occurred.  The shift in consciousness took on the qualities of a, “miracle,” simply because the shift appeared to happen so rapidly, but it had been processing in their subconscious minds for a very long time.

Now, I’m not meaning to denigrate either of them or diminish the help that they’ve provided to other people.  I’m actually a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle, but the fact remains that both he and Katie have done a very good job of marketing their, “miracles,” to other people.  Tolle is currently offering a virtual spiritual retreat for ONLY $997.00 (that’s a $300 discount by the way, and DON’T WORRY, you can put it on your Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.)  Katie offers a 9 day workshop for ONLY $3,500 dollars or, alternatively, you can stay at her, “Turn Around House,” for 28 days at ONLY $20,000.

There’s another saying in the South, which is, “Never trust a fat preacher.”  Since I’ve gotten old and fat, I’m going to modify that to, “Never trust a preacher who wears a Rolex.”  

In other words, if someone is selling you spirituality, if they’ve decided that you can put a price on miracles – and it’s exactly $997.00 – it’s appropriate to approach with caution.

Tolle has a deep background in philosophy and psychology and he IS a very profound thinker.  Katie, not so much.  In both cases, though, they aren’t just selling their philosophies or their ideas – they’re selling their miracles.  They’re saying, “HEY!  I was a miserable, unhappy bastard and I got Shazammed.  If you sit real close to me, it might happen to you, too.”  And there’s a definite messianic flavor to their gatherings and their followers.

The unfortunate thing, though, is that you can’t borrow someone else’s miracle.  You can’t even buy it.  Not even for $20,000.  You kind of have to make your own.

Another person who had what appeared to be a, “rapid,” conversion experience was Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  After decades of hopeless alcoholism, dozens of jobs lost, and hundreds of relationships destroyed, he had a sudden spiritual revelation while lying in a hospital bed waiting to die.  In a phrase, “he got struck sober,” and he never had another drink.

Wilson realized that by far and away, most people will never have a sudden, dramatic conversion experience like he had.  Using Varieties of Religious Experience as a sort of a manual, though, he set out to create a method to consciously create slow, gradual conversion experiences in other alcoholics.  The result of that effort was the now famous 12 Step Program.

And the price of it is . . . nothing.  It’s absolutely free.  Well, they do appreciate it if you drop a dollar in the basket when they pass it, but you don’t have to.

I’m not suggesting that everyone should go out and adopt the 12 Step Program for their lives, and neither would Bill Wilson.  In fact, he designed it specifically for people who were serious alcoholics, and by serious he meant, “almost dead.”

Where I think we can get some helpful insight, though, is that Wilson designed a program for spiritual change that involves a sort of a miracle in slow motion.  He was wise enough to realize that his, “sudden,” conversion was the result of many years of deep suffering and affliction.  He tried to set up a program that would shorten that period of suffering, but he never denied that the suffering was a necessary part of the whole package for alcoholics.

And isn’t that a drag?

I would LOVE to get Shazammed.  I’d love it if an angel would suddenly appear to me at night and say, “Danny, boy, you’re cured.”  Or maybe Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, could whack me with her wand and tell me to just click my goddamned heels together. 

 I mean, damn, why can’t I have one of those really FAST miracles?  

Because – for most people – they never happen.  Most of us have to take the slow, sometimes intensely painful, sometimes tedious – occasionally joyous – route of creating our own miracles.  We have to take the time to sit down with our therapists and do our own emotional work, we have to actually sit our butts down on the meditation pillows and do our own spiritual work. We have to create the miracle that is us.

In a very real sense, we have to design our own programs.  Maybe they’ll involve 12 Steps.  Maybe they’ll involve 36 Steps. Or 210 Steps.  But they’ll never involve 1 Step.  And they sure as hell shouldn’t involve $20,000.  

The bad news is that miracles can take a lot of work.  You can’t catch one by sitting next to someone else who had one. The good news is that they’re free. 

Well . . . maybe a dollar.

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The Nine of Wands, Spiritual Post-It-Notes, and Being Okay With Not Being Okay

I was recently watching an interview with Brad Yates, author of A Garden of Emotions: Cultivating Peace through EFT Tapping, and he made the point that social media can have the inadvertent effect of making us feel pretty inadequate.  It can slide us right into the, “comparison trap,” and we start to think that there must be something really wrong with us and our way of thinking.   I sat right up and took notice when he said that, because it rang a major, huge, giant brass bell in my head.

What he was talking about was FaceBook, “positivity.”  If we’re involved with the New Age or New Thought movements at all, we run into a LOT of positivity with our on-line friends.  We get up in the morning, crank up our Internet Machines, and there’s a virtual blizzard of Spiritual Post-It-Notes.  Things like, “I am SO grateful for this beautiful morning!”

Or, “I count my blessings with every breath!”

Or, “Healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships!”

Or, “Always live in an attitude of gratitude!”

And –  as actual human beings – sometimes we feel like shit.  In fact, sometimes we feel like shit a lot of the time.  But we’re looking at all of these bright, shiny thoughts from all of these bright, shiny people and THEY don’t seem to feel like shit all of the time, or even some of the time, or even, for god’s sake, EVER.  

Almost inevitably we slide into comparing ourselves to them and start thinking that there must be something really wrong with US.  How come I don’t feel like a million dollars every single goddamned day the way that they do?  I must be a really low-vibes, depressing/depressed human being because a lot of the time I hurt and I don’t feel very freaking grateful.

Of course, the truth of the matter is that if someone says that they’re grateful, happy, joyous and free EVERY SINGLE DAY, they’re either shallow or they’re a saint or they’re in denial or they’ve got some really, really good weed.

All right, granted, there are some people out there who really are happy most of the time and more power to them.  Some of them were born with a basically happy disposition.  Some of them have worked very, very hard to get into a place of grace and joy.  I’m not denigrating or diminishing that at all.  

Most of us, though,  don’t wake up grinning every single freaking morning. For some of us life feels very much like the Nine of Wands tarot card:  we’re still standing, we’re still upright and strong, but we’ve had the crap beaten out of us by life and we’re pretty wounded.

And that’s okay.  

That’s where we’re at.  That’s our starting point on the map for the rest of our journey.

Mike Dooley, who has done such wonderful teaching about manifesting and visualizations, often compares reaching our goals to setting a GPS in our cars.  We feed in the information about where we want to go and then the gizmo just takes it from there.  We don’t argue with it or second guess it – we just follow the directions.  In the same sense, he says, we can just set our goals and then let the Universe take it from there.  We don’t need to constantly obsess about the details (what he calls, “the poisoned hows,”) because the Universe will keep popping up new road signs and different paths to get us there.

Implicit in that, though, is the idea that we KNOW where we’re located at the beginning of the journey and we’re HONEST about it.  If I’m in San Jose and I want to get to Phoenix, but I tell my GPS that I’m in Dallas, it ain’t gonna work out too well.

And, in just the same way, if I’m beat up, knocked down, drug around, and life has beaten the stuffing right out of my meditation pillow, putting up Spiritual Post-It-Notes about how grateful I am ain’t gonna work out too well.

Unfortunately, social media sites are generally piss-poor places to be honest about what we’re really feeling.  It’s difficult to admit publicly that we’re NOT the Great and Mighty Wizard of Oz and there may be a lonely, sometimes sad, sometimes frightened person behind the curtain who’s just pulling levers.  It’s especially difficult when so many other people seem to be doing so well.  At least, all of their posts say they’re doing so well.

In a way – and perhaps a healthy way – this impossibly cheerful positivity has intensified since the start of the pandemic.  People really ARE struggling with depression and fear and loneliness and we’re trying to encourage each other to stay in healthy, positive frames of mind as much as we can.

So it may be a good, temporary coping mechanism.  Maybe we DO need to be as optimistic and up-beat as we can be, until we find our way out of this weird, scary virus maze.  It’s what we used to call, “whistling past the graveyard,” and in this case the graveyard is very real and it’s got a half a million Americans in it.

Long term, though, simply pretending that everything is alright when it’s not, doesn’t really work.  It doesn’t get us to our destinations because we’re not being honest about where we’re starting from.

Brad Yates went on to say that there are no such things as negative emotions.  WOW!  But . . . but . . . but . . . I thought I was supposed to be happy all of the time!

Not.  

Repeat – there are no such things as negative emotions.  There are no BAD emotions. 

There are emotions that are uncomfortable.  There are emotions that feel sad or that arise out of situations that are depressing or painful.  But they are all our emotions, they are all part of our story, and they serve to tell us where we are before we take the next step in our journeys.

In 1967, Thomas Harris published a wonderfully cheery book entitled, “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.”  In a nutshell, it promulgated the idea that we’re all just fine, we just misunderstand one another sometimes, and we should always remember that you and I and – gee whiz! –  pretty much everyone is . . . well . . . okay.

To which Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, that amazing wizardess who spent a lifetime studying death and dying, replied:

“I’m Not Okay.

You’re Not Okay.

And That’s Okay.”

And it really IS okay.  It’s right where we’re supposed to be when we take our next step on the journey.

Panic Attacks, Gas Lighting and The Moon Card

Have you ever had a panic attack?

They’re absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it, HORRIBLE.  You can’t catch your breath, your pulse rate goes through the ceiling, your heart is like a jack hammer in the middle of your chest, and you feel like you’re going to die.

And it’s all an illusion.  There’s really NOTHING wrong with you, at all, but it FEELS like the world is ending and vultures are sitting on your shoulders.  

I had a series of them about ten years ago when my life partner was becoming seriously ill.  One of the lovely things about them is that they seem to come totally out of the blue.  With the first one, I was driving merrily along The Great Highway of Life in my little Honda and WHAM!!!  “Danger, Will Robinson, danger, danger!  Be afraid!  Be very, very afraid.”  I somehow managed to get myself to the local emergency room where they examined me and gave me an extremely professional shrug of the shoulders.

“Nothing’s wrong with you, man.  Blood pressure’s normal, EEG’s normal, you’re incredibly sexy and good looking.”

Well, they didn’t really say the part about being sexy and good looking but I’m sure it was on their minds.

I couldn’t believe it.  I was dying and it was just . . . in my head.  Hmmmm . . .

Once I figured out what was going on I did a lot of research on panic attacks.  There are some interesting theories out there about what causes them, but nothing definitive.  Breathing into a paper bag can help.  Benadryl can help.  My favorite piece of advice was, “Think of something else.  Sing something happy.”  Oddly it works.

But I want to go back to the part about them being illusions.  The Moon card is all about psychological illusions.  As I said in my original definition:

Think of seeing the world under the light of the moon rather than the sun.  Shadows and light blend into one another and our eyes and mind see things that aren’t really there.  Or maybe they are.

There is a tendency for the unconscious, unexamined contents of our minds to come forth when The Moon is present.

What I eventually figured out about my panic attacks is that I was living in an illusion and my subconscious didn’t like it.  Not at all.  My partner was becoming increasingly, seriously ill and I was trying to stay very upbeat  about it and reassure her – and myself and her children – that it was nothing to be concerned about, that if we just kept a positive attitude we’d get through it and she’d be just fine.  My subconscious, on the other hand, was looking at it and saying, “Holy shit!  Carol is really, really sick.  You need to pay attention to this, Dan!”

And, when I didn’t pay attention to it, my subconscious said, “Okay . . . well how about this?  How about if I throw an absolute screaming fit and make you FEEL like you’re dying?  How about a nice big fat panic attack or three?  Will you pay attention now?”

I paid attention.  The panic attacks stopped.

The point is that there is something in our psyches that is always watching over us and warning us if we go too far off track, if we get too disconnected from reality.  Eckhart Tolle calls it, “the Watcher.”  Jeffrey Schwartz calls it, “The Wise Advocate.”  I’m referring to it here as, “the subconscious.”  It’s reality based, it’s dispassionate, and it will always blow a very loud whistle if we get too delusional about what’s really going on in our lives.  Some of us may have panic attacks, some of us may start having inexplicable accidents or become very anxious and distracted or angry.  It’s our inner guidance system saying, “Pay attention.  This is serious.”

It’s also a great defense against narcissistic gaslighting.  The term gaslighting is derived from the 1944 film Gaslight, where a husband tries to convince his wife that she’s insane by causing her to question herself and her reality.  Gaslighting is standard operating procedure for narcissists at a certain point in their destructive relationships.

As Doctor Ramani explains in this video, narcissists will eventually begin to treat you like shit and betray your trust in every imaginable way.  It’s what they do.  BUT . . . just to make it a little bit worse, they will always tell you that you’re just imagining it.

They put you down in front of your friends – you’re just imagining it!

They devalue or ignore your opinions – you’re just being delusional!

They screw around on you – you’re just being paranoid!

There’s actually an old joke in Texas where a woman walks in on her husband while he’s in bed with another woman and he says, “Now, darlin’, who are you going to believe – me or your lying eyes?”

It’s a funny joke but that’s precisely the level that narcissists operate on.  And it makes their partners crazy, just like in the movie.

But that’s a good thing.  That’s our subconscious, our Watcher, our Wise Advocate, saying, “Something here is very, very, wrong. Pay attention.”

And, if we can manage that shift in perspective, if we can say, “Wait a minute . . . maybe I’m NOT crazy, maybe this really IS happening,” then our so-called symptoms are suddenly transformed into very healthy warning signs.  If I’m depressed, if I’m angry, if I’m anxious – and, yes, if I’m having panic attacks – something is out of whack in my life.  Something in my conscious life is out of synch with my Watcher and my Watcher is ALWAYS right.

When we do that course correction and bring our conscious perceptions back into alignment with our subconscious Watcher, the symptoms disappear.  It’s not necessarily because anything in our environment has changed or gotten better, it’s simply that we’re being honest about what’s going on and there’s no longer a split in our consciousness. 

We’ve achieved integrity as defined by the dictionary:  the quality or state of being complete or undivided. Which is way better than feeling like you have an elephant sitting on your chest and you’re about to die. In the immortal words of Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t panic and carry a towel.”

And you’ll be alright.

The Ace of Cups, Heart Chakras, and Flounders in Rayon Golf Shirts

Opening our heart chakras to find love when our relationships aren’t working out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about broken hearts.  LOL – Again.

 At one point or another, whether it was the result of an adolescent crush gone awry or a mid-life divorce, most of us have gone through the experience that we tag as, “a broken heart.”  We fall deeply in love with someone and they don’t love us back.  Or they love us and leave us.  Or they, “love us,” in such destructive ways that we end up in shreds.

It hurts like hell.  Jeeeeezus, it hurts.

The 3 of Swords shows the classic broken heart scenario where two people were in love and one of them fell in love (or lust) with someone else.  The heart is pierced with swords and the person who was betrayed is so deeply wounded that he feels that he may never heal from the pain.

So what do we do with our poor broken hearts after someone stomped them into a jelly with their hobnail boots?

One popular solution is to just jump right back into another relationship.  “There are lots of fish in the sea,” we tell ourselves, “and I’m gonna hook me a big old flounder.”

Sometimes that works but a lot of times it doesn’t.  The divorce rate in the U.S. regularly hovers between 45 and 50 percent, which means that an awful lot of serious relationships end up as flaming disasters.

One of the big problems with just catching another fish is that, “life is a mirror,” as Louise Hay says in You Can Heal Your Life, and we tend to catch the same damned flounder over and over and over.  Whatever energy we’re radiating out into the Universe is the energy that’s going to come right back at us, in this case in the form of a lover. 

 If we’re really emotionally needy, clinging people, then we’ll probably attract other emotionally needy, clinging people and then – JOY OF JOYS – we can be needy and clinging together!  Or, if you really hate yourself and you’re constantly treating yourself like shit, you’ll probably attract an abuser to do the job FOR you.

So, basically, unless we change our energy patterns, unless we change what we’re radiating out to others, we’re going to continue to attract the same kinds of people, the same lovers who broke our hearts, only in different clothing.  (Hopefully stylish clothing, at least.  It’s doubly tragic when your new flounder shows up in a rayon golf shirt.)

That can even happen to kind, loving people who’ve gotten therapy, who’ve done the spiritual work, and are really, sincerely looking for a healthy, compassionate partner.  In some ways, people who are truly loving and on a sincere quest for genuine love may be even more vulnerable.  Just take a moment or two to listen to this video from the wonderful Doctor Ramani about malignant narcissists and, “love bombing.”

Remember what it’s like when you’re really, really, REALLY in love with someone?  You feel like – to use an old Southern expression – they hung the moon.  Everything they do is perfect, everything they say is a glittering gem of wisdom, and just being around them makes you ecstatic.

The malignant narcissist gets to us because they can perfectly mimic that feeling of being in love.  They praise us, they flatter us, they tell us that we’re smart and sexy and funny.  Just like someone who really loved us would do.  And then they destroy us.

Oops.  Another goddamned flounder.

Hopefully, we go BACK to our therapist and he or she teaches us about malignant narcissists and how to spot them and how to build healthy boundaries.  It’s all very complicated and it can take a lot of time along with a lot of emotional work and commitment.

In the meantime, in between time, we’re just hanging there with no love in our lives.  I mean, we KNOW that if we just go back out fishing without cleaning up our own emotional messes, we’re just going to get the same fish again.  And that’s not a good thing.  Living without love is NOT a good idea.  We NEED love.  It nurtures us.  It heals us.  It grows us.  So what do we do?

We can find at least a partial answer in the Ace of Cups.  It shows love – pure, undifferentiated, unattached, unconditional love – pouring into the world.

Believe it or not, we can manifest that love in our hearts and in our lives without a relationship and without a mate.  We all have a very special place in our energy systems called, “the heart chakra.”  This is the place where we receive, store, and generate love.

We can sit down at any time that we choose, do a heart chakra meditation, and, “grow,” the love that is in our hearts.  It’s not hard, it’s not complicated, and we don’t have to be spiritual masters to do it.  There are heart chakra meditations all over the internet, so you can start loving TODAY, if you want to.  (Here’s a nice one to get you started.)

The thing we frequently miss is that love exists.  It’s a force in the Universe that’s out there, independent of people, and we can let it into our lives and our being anytime that we want to.  Hell, we can set aside an afternoon for meditation and just BATHE in that energy if we want to.  All we have to do is open our heart chakras.

That’s not to put down loving another person at all.  Being in love can be one of the most magical, wonder-FULL things that ever happens to us.  It’s really hard to beat snuggling up against your partners back on a cold, snowy night, right?  (Well . . . neck kisses.  Neck kisses might beat it.  Of course, you could do both.)

Until that happens, though, until we can untie all of the weird, dysfunctional emotional knots that keep us from finding that relationship, we can remember that our lovers aren’t love itself.  They are vehicles that get us to love, but we can still experience love without a relationship.

It’s right there in our hearts.

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